Originally published on 09/12/2017 on VoyageChicago.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Alvarez.
Jim, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2011, I attended a charity event and noticed them using paper bid sheets. People would come and make a bid, then they’d start socializing and never really have a chance to go back to check and see if they’ve been outbid. There were also long lines at checkout, and after spending the evening donating to and celebrating a cause, the last thing you want to do is wait in line to pay. I knew there had to be a better way to process bids and donations. I started doing research on better ways to run a silent auction and ended up starting in the mobile fundraising business by licensing technology. Our first year, we did about 50 events, and we’ve grown so much since then. Approximately, three years after that, I brought in our CTO Rich Aquino to create our proprietary platform to make it even better.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Nothing about entrepreneurship is easy, and I highly doubt any entrepreneur has had a smooth road. Our struggle was in that we started out licensing other technology, and we didn’t have control so if the system went down, we were at the will of the other technology. Once Rich came on board and we built our own, it’s been a lot smoother.
We’re constantly innovating to make our product work better for our charity partners, and now we have control over that whole process.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Gesture is a mobile fundraising company; our technology platform is packed with tools that allow you to fully manage your fundraising campaigns. These products make it easier for donors to give and reaches them where they’re most engaged: on their mobile devices. It also makes it easier for our charity partners to analyze event data to make improvements in the future. We’re most proud that we’re going to raise $1,000,000,000 for charity partners over the span of 6 years (2015-2021).
Gesture’s technology is different from others because we don’t require that users have an app to participate in giving; they can give from their cell phone and they can give from anywhere in the world. Our motto is “make hope happen” and that’s our number one priority. We go the extra mile to make a fundraising initiative a success for all charity partners, whether it’s providing them with our event planning and item acquisition resources, or answering the phone late on a Saturday night to go over the details again.
What were you like growing up?
I enjoyed sports and competition and looking for creative ideas to have fun lead me to being an entrepreneur.
Read the original post from VoyageChicago here.